Somervell County is a step closer to getting a network of hiking, biking and equestrian trails.
The U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service last week announced that the Somervell Trails project has been selected to receive support from the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program.
The project aims to create more than 25 miles of walking, biking and equestrian trails. It won the non-monetary grant because of the strong “partner support” and its potential to link “significant resources” such as the Paluxy River, Wheeler Branch Reservoir and area parks, said Kathryn Nichols, community planner of the River, Trails and Conservation Assistance program.
The partners include Somervell County, the City of Glen Rose and the Somervell County Water District, which will contribute in-kind and financial support.
Under the grant, the National Park Service will help develop a feasibility study for the trails, including access to the existing walking path at the county-owned soccer park and improvements at Oakdale Park.
The Glen Rose City Council has debated and decided not to support a proposal to set aside and strip a walking trail on hilly Texas Drive leading from the Soccer Park to the Texas Ampitheatre. Local resident Carla Jones was killed there this past summer after a motorist struck her while Jones and a friend were walking.
The council decided the city might face liability if it striped a walking lane and someone was hurt. Instead, some members suggested extending the Soccer Park trail to deter people from walking on dangerous Texas Drive.
Another trail location might include Wheeler Branch Reservoir, which provides nearly 700 acres of scenic land with potential for multiple uses, including horseback riding and bikes, the National Park Service said in its announcement.
It added that community input will be south to identify “priority trails” for the county.
This year 41 projects were selected for similar National Park Service grants.